Have you ever got this question in mind, if India is the largest producer of mangoes and alphonso mangoes in particular, then why this fruit is so expensive? why there is always scarcity of this fruit in domestic market? Why we don’t have access to the best quality alphonso mangoes? This article will throw light on some of these issues to understand the ground reality.
Talking about the scarcity of alphonso mangoes in Indian market itself is because of one major reason that the best quality or A1 quality alphonso mangoes are mostly considered for export purpose as the farmers and traders already have great demands in the international market, if they are unable to supply quality fruit then it results in great losses too. In this bargain to retain international customers farmers usually don’t compromise on the fruit grades and quality and try their level best to export only the best quality fruit. Now what is left over after export is the grade and quality we mostly get to eat in Indian market.
Though Alphonso Mango is world famous for its superexcellent characteristics as a fruit, it also suffers lot of physical issues or challenges in reality. In this section we will be trying to understand what kind of issues this fruit faces over a period of time. So for the understanding purpose we will bifurcate the problems or diseases in two parts i.e.
1. Alphonso Plant Diseases
2. Alphonso Fruit Diseases
Alphonso Plant Diseases - Like any other plants this plant also faces lot of diseases from time to time, to name few of them are Nematodes, parasitic, Powdery mildew, Anthracnose, Die back, Phoma blight, Red rust, Sooty mould, Mango malformation, Gummosis, Root rot & Damping off, Scab etc. Few of these desease are common with other varieties of mango trees as well.
Alphonso Fruit Diseases - Apart from above mentioned plant diseases the alphonso fruit in specific also suffers problems like Bacterial diseases, Fungal diseases, Other Postharvest diseases etc.
Majority of the plants as well as fruit diseases are curable with appropriate treatment & use of fertilizers & sprays but there is one issue which is very difficult to identify and treatment is also relatively difficult are the fungal diseases in which the fruit develops white, spongy texture or net in and around the seed while the fruit itself looks normal & perfectly fine from outside. Its practically impossible for farmers to identify this issue in advance & treat it beforehand, as the issue is noticeable only after the fruit is matured more than 80%. According to some experts this issue of white spongy tissues is a result of premature germination attributed to different stages in developing fruits.
In this scenario the fruit is almost ready for plucking, farmers are mostly not aware of the possible issue developed inside the fruit hence they harvest the fruit, which eventually results in pure loss to the farmers and the mango lovers too. There have been instances wherein 1000s of plants spread across hectares of land have developed these kind of problems and farmers couldn’t do anything about it. You can imagine the amount of losses farmers will go through as majority of mango farmers have single source of income i.e. mangoes itself. One cause attributed for development of these issues is the excessive use of fertilizers and other chemicals in order to harvest maximum yield in limited time, which has direct impact on the genetics of the plant and fruit.
Hence to overcome this challenge lot of research is already going on, there are few organic & natural sprays and fertilizers developed by government which is helping farmers to fight these kind of challenges to certain extent. Further in some parts of the Konkan Maharashtra few farmers with the help of govt subsidy are trying to install X-Ray scanning machines as well, which helps the farmers to identify these specific issues with the fruit. With the help of this machine farmers can easily identify fruits which has developed fungal diseases so they keep these fruits aside and don’t process it further, as a result it doesn’t reach to the end consumer thereby saving lot of time, energy and money in the entire supply chain.
To conclude one can say that every living thing on the planet faces survival and sustenance issues from time to time, which we have to fight out by developing necessary immunity. India is termed as capital for mango production in the world, we produce more than 50% of worlds total mango production. If we are able to come over above mentioned challenges then India can continue to dominate the entire world market by increasing its production capacity by 15 to 20%. Additionally in India also majority of population will get access to this wonderful fruit which is not the case as of now since alphonso mangoes have great demand in domestic market but the supply is always short.
Do you think India will continue to dominate the international fruit market of mango? or countries like China & Thailand will overtake us in near future? Share your views in the comment section.
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